This is a collection of music for folk dancing that has long been out of print. Most of it consists of 78RPM transcriptions. Many of the vinyl recordings are actually transcribed from older 78s. From the soulful Macedonian, happy-happy Croatian, to the furious Russian-Ukranian melodies this music makes wonderful listening, but most importantly it demands to be danced. The 78RPM recordings often have a vigor and life unsurpassed by modern recordings. This is because they could not edit them, and so they had to record them in a complete take. This helped give the music an edge because the musicians were under pressure similat to that in a live performance.
Some of the recording artists could not be identified because they were originally archived on open reel without proper identification, and many recordings were made by anonymous folk ensembles. There are biographies of many artists already on the web. The recordings often also have the last name of the researcher who taught the dance.
A little history for some of the dances should be mentioned because it is not available elsewhere. The Dale Kornienko recordings were made by the owner of a record shop in Manhattan called Kismet according to Dick Crum. They have great energy and are appreciated by many folk dance groups.
A Ja Tzo Saritsa is the designated name on a recording which does not match the actual music. The dance choreographer was a Russian who mistakenly thought he hear the word "saritsa" which would be female tsar. He did not speak either Czech or Slovak dialects, and he had an old scratchy 78. So he made up a fancifal pantomime dance straight out of the Moscow school of choreography, which is fun to do, but bears little resemblence to any known folk dances. The name he gave the dance has been retained. This information was also obtained from the late Dick Crum, one of the greates folk dance historians and teachers.
This collection is intended to be used by folk dance groups for practice.
April 10, 2020 Subject:
Regarding items #219 and #220. The dance being called in #220 is, indeed, Lady Walpole's Reel, a classic New England contra dance. However the tune being played in both recordings is Lamplighter's Hornpipe, which is a completely separate dance.
Folks interested in older recordings for square dance and couple dances should visit Larry Edelman's site on the Internet Archive:
Many, many thanks to J Clement for putting this together. Is there anyone else out there from the '60s teen group at Michael Herman's Folk Dance House?
February 24, 2018 Subject:
This compilation is wonderful. By the way, I'm a musician from Ukraine, collecting folk songs and play it on my own interpretations. Thanks for high quality recordings and for popularization and not giving a chance to pass folk music away.
January 29, 2018 Subject:
Thank you so much
Thank you so much for putting this collection together and making all this music accessible online. I'm not a folk dancer, just an amateur musician (pianist, accordion player, choir singer). This is such a wonderful variety of national styles.
A new Balkan Folk Music Show will be uploaded soon.
Thank you again for your many hours of work! Ditto for the other teachers and collectors, including the ones you named in the description or in the following comments, such as the legendary Dick Crum.
June 13, 2016 Subject:
February 3, 2016 Subject:
Information about source
This collection is typical for a recreational folk dance group that has been around since the early 1950s. The bulk of the collection was purchased by Harry Morrow when he joined the Houston International Folk dance group. Others were purchased by the group, and a few were donated by Hiram Pierce the founder of the group. Some recordings are actually 45 or 33rpm copies of earlier 78rpm recordings.
I did all of the digitization and restoration. I took the position that all of the records should be digitized whether or not we actually dance to them. As a result our digital library has over 6,000 individual tracks.
February 2, 2016 Subject:
What a gem. I'm very glad for the individualized metdata on the songs, but it would be great to get more background info on the origin of this collection as such - who exactly assembled this, when, how?